Women's Month: Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed regardless of HIV status

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Celebrated in more than 120 countries around the world, "World Breastfeeding Week" is an annual event held every year from August 1 to August 7.

Masina said mothers may have observed that health practitioners at clinics encourage breastfeeding as opposed to bottle feeding as they may harbour infections on the artificial tit.

According to him, Nigeria is a breastfeeding nation because nearly all women in the country breastfeed their children. Mothers can carry the pump and storage bag to their work place and pump there to keep up their milk supply.

Research has found that babies who are breastfed have fewer health problems when they are older. Addressing a workshop organized by the State Health Society, Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and UNICEF to mark the World Breastfeeding Week, NMCH's paediatrics department head Dr Alka Singh said, "Now, more and more mothers are opting for breastfeeding".

"Also, proper weaning method should be adopted at the right time because we advise that all babies should be breastfed exclusively in the first six months of life and breast milk should be part of the baby's menu for at least two years".

The SBFO started its celebration of World Breastfeeding Week with a 20-hour training course on breastfeeding that was held on Wednesday in partnership with Khorfakkan Hospital. Those who breastfed their child have a lower risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer as well as heart disease or osteoporosis.

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Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of the SBFO, said, "Our main message with the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Project is to promote breastfeeding and encourage pregnant women and mothers to commit to it, due to its proven benefits".

Breastfeeding can be a challenge for moms and babies, as it is new to both of them.

"In 1990, no woman knew about exclusive breastfeeding".

World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) confirm that breastfeeding contributes to reducing child mortality rates.

Pakistan was among the 118 countries which had voted in favour of adopting worldwide code of marketing of breast milk substitutes during the World Health Assembly in May 1981. Supportive healthcare systems, adequate maternity leave entitlements, workplace interventions, counselling and educational programmes can all help to improve breastfeeding rates. Stunted growth and childhood malnutrition can be mitigated through better breastfeeding practices as one of its major contributors.